The Charlie's Angels star was diagnosed with the condition in 2002 after a routine mammogram showed a lump, and Smith reveals she demanded an operation to remove her breast without thinking the decision through.
She tells the New York Daily News, ""When I heard that news, I panicked... The word cancer is what stood out. That's a word I didn't even like to say. It was very surreal... I think my first words were, 'Will I be here for my children?'... I said right then, 'Just take my breast off. I don't want to deal with it.' I just wanted to get it over with. I just wanted it out so it would be behind me.""
However, her doctor later discovered the cancer hadn't spread to her lymph nodes so Smith instead opted for a lumpectomy and eight weeks of radiation therapy, and now feels grateful she didn't go ahead with the more drastic procedure.
Smith, who subsequently beat the disease, is now urging women to get regular mammograms, because she never felt any lumps before her cancer was detected.
She adds, ""My mammogram the year before (my diagnosis) was totally clear. I didn't feel anything, no bump or lump. It's so important that we take care of ourselves and get those regular check-ups... I'm here and I'm so grateful.""